Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL) is a rare lymphoid malignancy with dismal prognosis. We conducted a large population-based study using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database (1973–2010) to determine the temporal survival trends and prognostic factors of AITL patients. A total of 1207 patients with AITL were included in this study, with a median age at diagnosis of 69 years. At presentation, most patients (79.5%) had an advanced-stage disease. Overall survival (OS) probabilities at 2, 5 and 10 years were 46.8%, 32.9%, and 21.9% respectively. Two-year, 5-year, and 10-year disease-specific survival (DSS) rates were 56.1%, 44.0%, and 35.9% respectively.On multivariate analysis, age older than 70 years, advanced-stage disease and male sex were identified adverse predictors for OS and DSS. We failed to find any survival differences among subgroups diagnosed in the 5 periods studied (1992 to 1998, 1999 to 2001, 2002 to 2004, 2005 to 2007, and 2008 to 2010). The current study represents the largest specific series of patients with AITL and the first investigation on temporal changes in survival of AITL patients. There has been no survival improvement for AITL patients over the past two decades. Further investigations are warranted to develop more effective treatment for AITL.